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Help Musicians UK puts £100k into new mental health initiative 

By | Published on Monday 24 July 2017

Help Musicians UK

On the back of the mental health research it began at the CMU Insights conference at The Great Escape back in 2016, music charity Help Musicians UK has committed £100,000 to a new mental health fund and launched a campaign called Music Minds Matter.

The charity says that its research identified a “mental health crisis” in the music industry, which it hopes to help tackle through various initiatives and, in particular, a new 24/7 helpline that will launch later this year.

There has, of course, been a much franker conversation about depression, addiction and mental health within the UK music community in the last couple of years, in no small part as a result of individual artists and music business practitioners coming forward to share their own personal stories.

A number of new initiatives are now underway to provide more bespoke support for artists and those who work behind the scenes in the music industry; initiatives that account for some of the peculiarities of working in and around music, and the impact those peculiarities can have on your mental health.

Alongside existing and new support channels from Help Musicians UK, there is the Music Support helpline and Safe Tent programme at music festivals, which are backed by the BRIT Trust and Festival Republic, plus the Music Managers Forum launched its mental health guide for artist managers at this year’s Great Escape.

The MMF has reported interest in its mental health work from other artist manager groups around the world, and Help Musicians also hopes to partner with organisations abroad to provide better support to the global music community.

The need for this kind of support worldwide was back in the spotlight last week, of course, following the very sad death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who died by suicide. This weekend his band posted links to suicide prevention helplines and organisations around the world on their official website.

In addition to the £100,000 Help Musicians has already committed to funding the launch of a dedicated mental health service, it is seeking further funding from within the music industry, with an online donations link put live this morning. Doubling HMUK’s investment would, the charity says, “allow the mental health service to be sustainable beyond 2018”.

Confirming the new initiative, Help Musicians CEO Richard Robinson said: “For generations and generations, the music industry has lost some of its brightest talent and future stars due to the scourge of mental health and related issues. The situation is now urgent and we can no longer allow this to continue”.

He added: “The forthcoming specialist 24/7 mental health service will be a global first and go hand in hand with Help Musicians’ traditional health and welfare support, which offers advice and often financial support to people in the industry across a wide range of issues”.

In a call to action to the industry, Robinson added: “We have decided to make this landmark investment as a precursor to a dedicated service – but we cannot undertake this work in isolation. We need the music industry to step up, arm in arm with Help Musicians, and match our support pound for pound, so we are proud to launch the Music Minds Matter campaign”.